Queensland Rail boss Nick Easy says the Mt Isa line is on track to reopen between late April and the middle of May, with good progress being made after last month’s major flooding event.
Easy on March 7 said Queensland Rail’s taskforce was continuing to spearhead repairs on the line between Cloncurry and Richmond, with the section between Richmond and Hughenden recently deemed open to rail traffic.
Crews worked on 50 damaged sites across 100 kilometres of railway between Richmond and Hughenden before opening the section on March 4.
“We are now working closely with our freight operators and their customers on options to restore services through this section and opportunities for freight to be loaded on and off trains at both Richmond and Hughenden,” Easy said.
“We will be continuing to work with our freight operators and their customers over the coming week to finalise these plans.”
Easy said weather was still a factor in repairs, with three kilometres of plastic mats delivered to sites, and construction beginning on temporary access roads at several locations.
“The teams will continue to utilise this matting as required to build access roads in areas which remain wet as repairs continue,” he said.
“Overall, work is progressing well to date and we will continue to provide weekly updates on our progress.”
A 60-bed camp is being built in Richmond to accommodate employees and contractors working on the recovery, and another 120-bed camp will be set up at Julia Creek to accommodate recovery works at Nelia.
“Accommodation presented a significant challenge for the recovery work, but now that a solution has been identified and is being implemented, the Taskforce is confident it can mobilise all of the crews and contractors required to accelerate the recovery program,” Easy said.
“Local contractors have been engaged to transport mobile, stackable buildings on trailers which will house workers unable to be accommodated in local motels and caravan parks and local suppliers in each town will also be hired to provide food, cleaning and supplies to the camps. The camps are expected to be operational within the next two weeks, if not earlier.”